Here’s a unique way to store ingredients when preparing a recipe – in a muffin tin. True meal prep! Store your prepped and chopped items with a paper liner or none. This is best for ingredients such as chopped veggies, fruit, nuts, eggs, spices, etc (mainly dry ingredients). I recommend preparing liquid ingredients in a separate measuring cup or small dish. This way you don’t have to tip and move the whole muffin tin upside to get the liquid out.
Great news – this keeps you organized, cleaner kitchen, move all the ingredients at once, save money on buying glass prep mixing bowls (such as 4 oz bowls), mostly likely already have muffin tin(s) in your kitchen
How do you keep fresh herbs alive?! One way, possibly the best way, is to wrap herbs in a damp paper towel and place in a zip lock bag. Make sure it’s a damp paper towel, not wet so no mold grows. This will absorb moisture from the herbs, preventing them from wilting too quickly. You are also able to store fresh leafy greens this way, wrapped in paper towels!
Another way is to store herbs in a mason jar, placed like flowers. Fill the jar with water and keep it in the fridge uncovered. The only downside is that the jar can take up room in the fridge.
If you’re in a pinch, like I usually am, simply keep the herbs in the produce bag from the grocery store.
The freezer is my best friend! I love to store items in the freezer such as healthy ingredients, leftovers, and meal prep. The best way is to store items flat, such as in gallon bags. Once the bags are filled, press flat and label with the name and date cooked. Then store in the freezer flat; stacked on each other. This will save you so much time and freezer space if laid flat. Additionally, the bagged items will thaw quicker because the bags are stored thin.
Another option is to buy storage containers (my favorite) to freeze food in. Then you are able to stack foods neatly in the freezer. The main goal is to be organized so you can easily find your food instead of being buried in the freezer. Still label the containers with the name and date cooked.
Items I normally freeze:
Opened cans of food (such as tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, chipotle adobo peppers)
Why would you freeze meat? This is a trick to make it easier to cut and slice. Especially helping to cut meats into thin slices, strips, cubed, etc. Place the meat in the freezer for 15-20 minutes which gives it enough time to firm up. Otherwise if you don’t, the meat can be hard to cut through and slippery, making it difficult to work with. If the meat is pre-opened, place it into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap before putting it in the freezer (just as if you would cover the meat in the refrigerator). Overall, this will save you time in the kitchen, particularly when prepping dinner in a hurry. Plus, when slicing the meat first the cook time is reduced.
One of my favorite ways to cook meat when I’m in a hurry is to slice fairly thin, then cook it in a sauté pan. I typically add Asian flavors and vegetables to create a stir fry. The meat takes no time at all to cook (without over cooking) and gets dinner on the table fast!
With there being so many ingredients out there, I love these 5 especially. Keep a variety of each one on hand to create magical meals! There is such fun in utilizing ingredients in many different ways and cooking methods. I’ve excluded the simple pantry staples such as spices, flour, sugar, oils – the ones you normally think of.
A very healthy snack and so many applications
Use as a crunchy topping, contrast of textures, add protein to a dish
Make a sauce with soaked nuts, perfect to make vegan sauces and cheeses (flavor with your favorite spices)
Fresh herbs – my favorites are rosemary, thyme, sage
Herbs can brighten up any dish and take it to the next level; use in food or drinks to create unique combinations; simply having the smell in the kitchen or refrigerator is like a breath of fresh air
Low sodium broth
This ingredient is so versatile because I can make a quick sauce, soup, to thin a dish out, add flavors; I especially like using this instead of water for grains and rice
Other ideas- use to reheat dishes and add moisture (instead of water), deglaze hot pans to keep things from sticking, when making white sauces or cream sauces use some broth to cut back on fat
A great source of protein and great vegetarian/vegan meal option; so many to choose from with all different applications
Besides making great mexican food, other options are hummus, sandwich spread or dip, pot pies, in cold salads
They are so creamy and can easily be whipped into a recipe
Snack attack, melty gooiness, sharp, ages, creamy, moldy – so many to choose from, there’s an abundance of different cheeses
Very unique flavors, shapes, colors from regions all over the world
Keep a small garbage bowl near you when cooking. Simply choose a kitchen bowl to throw scraps, peels, and trimmings away. You could also line the bowl with a plastic bag for easy clean up. This will save needless trips and time going to and from the garbage can. While chopping and cooking, there is a nice easy reach for throwing garbage away. This is a great way to clean as you go and stay organized.
Before heading out to an outing, errands, a party, or even dinner, eat a small snack before. This will help prevent overeating and “eyes bigger than your stomach.” If you are fully hungry before going out, this can lead to snacking more than usual, eating large portions, fast food, etc.
Healthy small snack ideas:
Cheese and crackers
Celery and peanut butter
Piece of fruit and peanut butter
Hard boiled eggs
Hummus with veggies and pita chips (or beet hummus)
Vegetables with a homemade dip
Pair protein and fat with some carbs! The protein keeps you full, slows digestion, and keeps blood sugar level.